Claudia Dee Libbey, 79, passed away peacefully on Oct. 18 after a three-year courageous battle with acute myloid leukemia with her husband by her side.
She was born to Margurite Lucille (Deckwa) and Clyde Herbert Willey in her great aunt’s log cabin on North Whidbey Island, Wash. She joined her 2-year-old sister Kathleen on the family farm in Crescent Harbor. In 1942, when the U.S. Navy purchased the farm, the family along with her grandparents (Clyde and Hazel Willey) moved to Grants Pass, Ore., to farmland bordered by the Rouge and Applegate Rivers. She began her formal education at the Jerome Prairie School.
When she was in the third grade, the family moved to Albany, Ore., for a short while. The family purchased another farm on Whidbey Island and relocated back to the Oak Harbor area, where she continued her education. She graduated from Oak Harbor High School in 1958. Claudia met her future husband, George Libbey, while in high school and they were married on Sept. 20, 1958. They had just celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary. Together they raised three children (Joseph, Carl and Mary) in Oak Harbor where George was a teacher.
Once the children were in school, Claudia began a career as a teacher’s aide at Olympic View Elementary and Broadview Elementary schools, retiring after 25 years of service. Together the family spent many hours camping, fishing, hunting, and skiing. After their retirements, Claudia and George enjoyed travelling and camping. Their favorite places were Alaska and the Yukon and Northwest Territories. Claudia and George continued to RV in the Pacific Northwest until her condition worsened and no longer allowed for travelling. They also owned property on the Sauk River in Skagit County and loved spending time there year-round.
On their many travels, Claudia was always taking pictures, with wildflowers and wildlife her favorite subjects. She often used these photographs to make handmade greeting cards. She was a handcrafter making many beautiful items for display and gifts. Claudia was an excellent seamstress and also loved to knit and crochet. In 1996, she joined the Whidbey Island Chapter of the Daughters of the Pioneers of Washington. In the local chapter, she held the offices of trustee, librarian and president. At the state level she was the custodian, 1st vice president and president.
Claudia is survived by her husband George; children Joe and Jenn Libbey of Marysville, Carl Libbey of Mount Vernon, and Mary and Chris Hardin of Tetonia, Idaho; and grandchildren Stephen Libbey, Sarah (Garrett) Aries, Mark (Sarah) Hardin and Rachel (Trevor) Jobst. She was preceded in death by her parents Herbert and Margurite Willey and in-laws Calvin and Anne Libbey.
We would like to thank the staff and caregivers at Island Hospital’s Merle Cancer Care Center for the care and support they provided over the past year. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in memory of Claudia Libbey to the Daughters of the Pioneers of Washington, Whidbey Island Chapter #6 (PO Box 923, Coupeville, WA 98239, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society www.lls.org, or American Cancer Society www.cancer.org.
A memorial service and reception honoring and remembering Claudia’s life will be held at Wallin Funeral Home, 1811 NE 16th Ave. (West Cemetery Road), Oak Harbor, Wash., on Friday, Nov. 1, at 1 p.m. You may offer your condolences and share memories of Claudia with her family online at www.wallinfuneralhome.com on her page in their Book of Memories.